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what is an illustration essay

Illustration essay

A 2019 Guide on How to Write an Illustration Essay

Writing a Good illustration essay

Table of contents

1. Introduction

2. What is an illustration essay?

3. Illustration essay outline

            3.1 Outline examples

4. Illustration essay example

5. Conclusion

6. References


One would be forgiven to think that an illustration essay has to do with fine arts and design. Illustration essays teach students how to come up with the best drawings and illustrations, right? No, they don’t. While the name may trick you into thinking this is what they do, nothing can be further from the truth. Illustration essays are also called example essays.

This is because they explain in detail the process or steps involved in a certain phenomenon. They are also referred to as descriptive essays. When used interchangeably, these two terms can be confusing to a student, hence, always seek clarification from your instructor on what he expects before embarking on the essay.

Many experts consider an illustration essay one of the easiest essays to write because it does not require a thesis in most cases, though not all. All the essay does is asking the students to show how well they understand a certain concept. This article will equip you with all the knowledge you require to write an excellent illustration essay and improve your grades.

What is an Illustration Essay?

What is an illustration essay?

An illustration essay can be defined as an essay that seeks to shed more light on a phenomenon or a process by explaining how it exists or how a certain process works. It achieves this by offering evidence and explanations that shed light on a concept. An illustration essay, for instance, could be used to explain what the role of a chef is. This would involve explaining in detail the specific duties and responsibilities of a chef.

Such an essay would include all the relevant information required to explain what a chef does as part of his job. Yes, an illustration essay can be that simple. At times, however, one may be asked to write an illustration essay on a more complex topic such as racial discrimination. Support the idea that white candidates receive promotion more often and are paid more than their non-white colleagues using information from reputable sources or your personal experience. You can buy essay writing services here

The first example, the one about a chef, all one is required to do is simply describe what a chef does without necessarily having a thesis. However, your essay would come out stronger if you organized the roles and responsibilities of a chef around a thesis. For instance, you could argue that the chef is the most important employee in a hotel. This would then require you look closer at the duties that make him the most important employee within a hotel setting. 

The second essay, the one on racial discrimination, has already offered you a thesis as it requires you to explore the idea that white candidates receive promotion more often and are paid more than their non-white colleagues using information from reputable sources or personal experience. Hence, this does not require the student to come up with own thesis.  It is common for a teacher to give a thesis to his students to expound on. A good student should be able to tell whether he needs to come up with a thesis himself or one has already been provided.

Do you need assistance coming up with illustration essay topics?

Illustration Essay Outline

Some students consider illustration essays to be so simple that they do not need to create an outline for them. However, this is discouraged. Most essays will require one to describe something in a clear manner. To achieve this, one needs to have all the points well organized and that’s where an outline comes in.

Having an outline for your illustration essay is a good idea as it will keep your arguments clear and well organized. Your outline does not need to be a complicated one to be effective. Some of the most effective outlines used by students are nothing but a few points listed down.

Illustration Essay Outline Example

1. HookInteresting fact, statistics on the subject matter, or an anecdote

 2. Introduce the topic under discussion

3. Explain why it makes sense to explore the topic further

4. State your thesis

5. The first paragraph of the body: deal with the most important aspects about the subject under discussion.

6. Second paragraph of the body: Discuss the next most important descriptive information about your subject.

7. Third paragraph: Give details about the subject matter to help clarify any points that were not clear before.

8. State your thesis once more but using words that are different from those used when you stated it previously. Recap your main points without repeating exactly what you said in the previous paragraphs. Make attempts to connect your topic of discussion to a larger global issue.

Illustration Essay Example on Gun Control

Most average New Yorkers on the street will admit that there is a need for stricter laws on gun ownership. Texans, on the other hand, will be of a different opinion as far the enactment of stricter gun ownership laws is concerned. 

Gun control is one of the most controversial topics in the United States today. People have strong varying opinions on whether guns help keep families safe or contribute towards making communities less safe. One thing all agree on, however, is that guns are a major component of the American culture.

For instance, it was common to have shooting clubs in New York high schools up to late 1960s. Students would carry their firearms to school and once there, hand them over to a teacher or instructor for safe keeping (Lott, 2003). After school, the students would pick up their guns to go sharpen their shooting skills within the safety of their gun clubs. If a high school student brought a gun to school, it would cause severe panic and even a stampede from his followers. One wonders how the American society transformed from a peaceful one where school goers engaged in shooting as a peaceful past time to one where violent school shootings is now the norm. 

This change can be easily attributed to media influence on the society. Films, television programs and video games have become more violent and this has influenced the mentality of both children and adults towards violence.  This study explores how violence in the media has become intense and more pronounced and how this has contributed towards youths viewing the gun as a tool for use in venting out their frustration through violence.

Research has shown that there is a direct correlation between exposure to violent media and increase in gun violence among the youths. According to research, playing violent games is the most likely to lead to violent criminality and that both virtual and real experiences of aggressive emotions associated with revenge are the main factors leading to school violence and violent criminality.  The study found that the more children watch violent and horror movies, the more adolescents play violent video games the higher the chances that they will be violent and delinquent by the age of 14 (Hopf et al., 2008).

The study clearly shows that exposing children to violence at an age when they are easily impressed upon, when their brains are still developing affects how they handle stress and things they perceive as threats. Children who are constantly shown violence as an acceptable way of solving disputes have that hard wired into their brains. Such children are more likely to become delinquent than those who were never exposed to violent media. One would argue that exposing children to violent media repeatedly instructs them on how to react violently when in stressful situations.  Children who grew up in the 1940s and 1950s, although handled guns all the time, were not exposed to violence in the media as is the case these days. The difference between the children of that generation and those of recent generations is remarkable. The 50s generation grew up watching non-violent movies hence didn’t have school shootings.

Some experts say that the correlation between violence in media and hostile behavior is so clear that one could even say that interacting with violent media is an indicator that one could become a hostile youth.

“Exposure to violent media, whether online or offline, increases the chances of reporting serious violent behavior,” (Ybarra, 2008). The study also emphasizes the effect violent video games can have on the minds of young people. While some may find this simplistic, truth is violent school shootings did not occur in the 1950s because there were no violent movies. Back then there were no media offering realistic looking images of people seeking justice by shooting those around them.

While adult brains are able to tell between reality and fantasy, and know that there are actual consequences for violent behavior, teenagers and children are not fully aware of this fact. Their brains aren’t fully developed yet and are easily influenced by what they see on television.

Hence, people who were teenagers in the 1940s and 1950s were not inclined to mass shootings since there was nothing in the media and in the society that presented violence as acceptable behavior.  Media at the time did not stimulate their minds into becoming violent. Today, however, stimuli for violence are everywhere, hence the high rate of gun related violence.

Another study explored the effects of violence in the media from a biophysical point of view. Researchers took groups of subjects that had aggressive tendencies and another one comprised of people who had non-aggressive tendencies an exposed them to aggressive media content for a period of two days.  The groups reacted in a very distinct manner. The aggressive group showed less brain activity in the regions of the brain associated with decision making and self-control compared to the non-aggressive group. The aggressive group felt more inspired and less nervous compared to their non-aggressive counterparts (, 2014). They considered the violence in the media as validating their own aggression.

This shows it is dangerous to use violence as a form of storytelling. Naturally, some people have aggressive impulses and these should not be stimulated. The study concluded that aggression is a form of personality characteristic that develops as a child’s nervous system develops.

Patterns of behavior are solidified and the brain prepares to carry these patterns into adulthood where they become part of one’s personality. This could explain the difference between people who are aggressive and those who are not and how the media influences their behavior (, 2014). The above study shows that violence in the media can motivate aggressive people to act in a manner that harms others. This dangerous effect of violence in media should be treated with the seriousness it deserves.

From above, one can conclude that the much attention given to gun accessibility is misplaced. Instead of focusing on the weapons used by disturbed youths to commit crimes, more focus should be given to the stimuli that make such behavior appear normal. From the study, it is clear media can influence youths negatively making them think that violence is a natural way to deal with one’s own frustrations and depression. There is a need for the society to demand better forms of entertainment that is devoid of so much violence as is currently the case.

Parents need to be more actively involved in their children’s entertainment choices checking carefully the kind of entertainment they are allowed to enjoy. Allowing children to watch violent content is tantamount to programming them become violent later in life. The public needs to unite to ensure that change is made to what is offered for public consumption by the media. See can money buy happiness essay


Hence, writing an illustration essay enables one to give the overall picture of an issue using details, facts as well as your personal interpretation.  One would understand why many instructors refer to this kind of essay as an example essay as one has to give numerous examples when giving descriptions. This type of essay helps a reader understand why something is the way it is. By the time a reader finishes reading your essay, he should have a better understanding of the subject under discussion.

Our writers have completed hundreds of this type of essay and know well what the instructors are looking for. If you need help with such an essay, we have many specialist writers who will be happy to assist you till the job is done.

Illustration essay


Hopf, W. H., Huber, G. L., & Weiß, R. H. (2008). Media Violence and Youth Violence. Journal of Media Psychology20(3), 79-96. doi:10.1027/1864-1105.20.3.79 (2014, September 10). New Study Examines Impact of Violent Media on the Brain | Mount Sinai – New York. Retrieved from

Ybarra, M. L., Diener-West, M., Markow, D., Leaf, P. J., Hamburger, M., & Boxer, P. (2008). Linkages Between Internet and Other Media Violence With Seriously Violent Behavior by Youth. PEDIATRICS122(5), 929-937. doi:10.1542/peds.2007-3377

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